When defining custom counter styles, the negative descriptor lets you alter the representations of negative counter values, by providing a way to specify symbols to be appended or prepended to the counter representation when the value is negative.


/* <symbol> values */
negative: "-"; /* Prepends '-' if value is negative */
negative: "(" ")"; /* Surrounds value by '(' and ')' if it is negative */


first <symbol>

This symbol will be prepended to the representation when the counter is negative.

second <symbol>

If present, this symbol will be appended to the representation when the counter is negative.


If the counter value is negative, the symbol provided as value for the descriptor is prepended to the counter representation; and a second symbol if specified, will be appended to the representation. The negative descriptor has effect only if the system value is symbolic, alphabetic, numeric, additive, or extends, if the extended counter style itself uses a negative sign. If the negative descriptor is specified for other systems that don't support negative counter values, then the descriptor is ignored.

Formal definition

Related at-rule@counter-style
Initial value"-" hyphen-minus
Computed valueas specified

Formal syntax

negative = 
<symbol> <symbol>?

<symbol> =
<string> |
<image> |

<image> =
<url> |

<url> =
url( <string> <url-modifier>* ) |
src( <string> <url-modifier>* )


Rendering negative counters


<ol class="list" start="-3">


@counter-style neg {
  system: numeric;
  symbols: "0" "1" "2" "3" "4" "5" "6" "7" "8" "9";
  negative: "(-" ")";

.list {
  list-style: neg;



CSS Counter Styles Level 3
# counter-style-system

Browser compatibility

BCD tables only load in the browser

See also